SIXTY-SEVEN people died in work-related accidents in the six months to June 2012, 15 more than the total fatalities for 2011, the National Social Security Authority has said. A total of 3 850 workers were injured at work during the same period, a trend that shows a general decline or disregard for occupational health and safety.
NSSA regional manager Mr Walter Chagadama said that the figures represent a stark contrast in scenarios with the 2011 figures where 2 395 people were injured at work while 47 of the cases resulted in fatalities.
He was speaking in Zvishavane last week during the launch of Mimosa Mining Company's Let's Go Zero campaign by former Midlands Governor and Resident Minister Cephas Msipa
The initiative is aimed at stopping road and work- related accidents, new HIV infections and halt damaging the environment.
Minister of Mines and Mining Development Dr Obert Mpofu officially launched the Let's Go Zero Campaign at national level in Harare just over a month ago.
"According to the data collected by the International Labour Organisation, two million die from work-related accidents annually and 268 million people get injured at work (worldwide) while an average of three days' work is lost as a result of the injuries," he said.
Mr Chagadama applauded Mimosa Mining for its impeccable safety and health systems saying the firm had not contributed to the statistics of fatalities in 2011.
Mimosa received silver shield, overall and gold medal in the mining sector category shield for its health and safety systems in 2011 from NSSA during the authority's annual show conference to reward outstanding companies in heath and safety workers.
Mimosa vigorously embarked on the Let's Go Zero and Zero Harm campaign after successfully rescuing 75 mine workers, who were trapped underground following a fire outbreak on a conveyor belt.
"Let's Go Zero campaign is aligned to our safety moto of Zero Harm. Our aim is to go to zero accidents," said Mimosa resident director Mr Peter Chimboza.
The firm is now working with the Environmental Management Authority, National Traffic Safety Council and National Aids Council for the Let's Go Zero initiative in the understanding that zero harm is possible.
Mr Msipa said he was a proud friend of Mimosa which he said was a well-run company that had changed the face of Zvishavane through economic and corporate social responsibility projects.
He applauded the company for its programmes on environmental management, roads, schools, clinics, hospitals and HIV prevention programmes around Zvishavane. Early this year, Labour and Social Services Minister Ms Paurina Mpariwa told delegates to the commemorations for the Word Day for Safety and Health that the increase in work-related accidents and deaths at the workplace was worrisome for a small country such as Zimbabwe.
"Despite some intensive efforts, which are being made by regulatory authorities such as NSSA, the number of occupational accidents and diseases is still depressive and too high for our small economy," she said.